Kiss Me by Richard Bean, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 29 October 2016

Unusually we return to the same theatre two weeks in a row, but this time to see a premier of the downstairs play, Kiss Me by Richard Bean.

After the busy end to our week, we were rather relieved to discover that this was a short play – 70 minutes without an interval.

The play is set in the 1920’s. A young WW1 widow has arranged a liaison with a young man through a mysterious doctor who helps women with deceased or damaged husbands to get pregnant, through the services of this young man. It is a strange scenario, but there is some evidence that some sort of arrangement or arrangements of this kind did happen at that time.

The liaison is supposed to take place within strict parameters regarding lack of intimacy and information sharing, but inevitably in the play the parameters soon break down and so the play becomes a more conventional love story, albeit within an unconventional scenario.

It was a little difficult to buy into the conceit of this play lock stock and barrel; the woman’s motivations in particular seemed confused, the man’s a little hard to believe as stated. Still, the acting was good and the play did cover some interesting points about sexual mores, class differences and of course sex discrimination in that era. The young man basically has so many more choices than the woman.

Here is a link to the Hampstead resource for this play/production.

In short, we enjoyed the play and we enjoyed our Mohsen Persian supper too.

 

Baby Girl by Roy Williams, DNA by Dennis Kelly and The Miracle by Lin Coghlan, Cottesloe Theatre, 23 February 2008

A mixed bag evening, mostly good stuff in the mix, with three short plays all with a “yoof” theme, at the Cottesloe.

We weren’t going to miss this one. Roy Williams we liked a lot when we first came across him at the Royal Court a few years before. Ditto Dennis Kelly, whose work we’d very much enjoyed at the Hampstead. Lin Coghlan was new to us.

We weren’t overly familiar with Paul Miller’s name as director then, although we had seen his work before and now (writing in 2016) know his work well at the Orange Tree.

Apparently this production emerged from the National Theatre’s Connections programme, getting young people involved in performing, although this production was picked up by and delivered by professionals, albeit some of them very young professionals.

There is an excellent, free RNT education workpack for these plays, which includes synopses and other educational materials to accompany the pieces – click here to download.

LondonTheatre.co.uk provides a useful cast & crew list and a short synopsis of each play.

Interesting reviews:

I think we liked the first two plays a fair bit more than the last, but two out of three really ain’t bad for this sort of evening, so we were thoroughly satisfied.